Monday Mornings with Madison

Appetizing Alliances: The Ingredients of a Successful Partnership

There are similarities between creating a successful partnership and cooking a great dish. In order to create a meal that is a culinary success, a good chef starts with the right ingredients. Certain ingredients are essential. Without those, the dish will taste either wrong or bad. But it’s not just important to have the right ingredients. The quantity and quality of each ingredient also matters. Continue reading

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Redeeming Reputation in the Digital Realm – Part 2

A company’s reputation is its most important asset.  A person’s individual reputation is his or her most important possession.   Yet, most people and companies are entirely unaware of their online reputation.  While ignorance may be bliss in some things, it is incredibly risky to be ignorant of one’s online reputation.  Attention all business owners, managers and professionals:  what you don’t know about what others think of you can hurt you!  That is why there are now professionals – reputation management experts — who make a living helping people and companies monitor, protect, and (if necessary) redeem their online reputation. Continue reading

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Redeeming Reputation in the Digital Realm – Part 1

Some 2,300 years ago, Publilius Syrus (a writer of Latin) penned that “A good reputation is more valuable than money.”  About 2,000 years later, Ben Franklin said “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”  Recently, billionaire and investment guru Warren Buffet said essentially the same thing… “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”  For thousands of years, wise people have understood the importance of reputation.  Reputation is a fundamental instrument of social order, based upon distributed, spontaneous social control. A person’s reputation reflects the overriding opinion held by others about him, and a company’s reputation reflects the opinion held by most about the business or its products and services.  Once tarnished by bad behavior, a damaged reputation can have a profound impact on success and career. Continue reading

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Do Less: Eight Things to Give Up – Part 2

There are many things people know they should give up because it’s just plain bad for them.  Putting too much salt in food.  Smoking cigarettes.  Texting and driving.  Drinking alcoholic beverages in excess.  Getting sunburned often.  Then there are a number of things people do that they think are perfectly fine but it turns out they aren’t.  Chewing ice (which is bad for teeth).  Protecting clothes using mothballs (which are stuffed with pesticides that are toxic and are ingested when smelled).  Drinking skim milk instead of full-fat milk (which is fortified with powdered milk that oxidizes cholesterol and causes plaque buildup in arteries and increases the chance of a heart attack).  Using a computer for more than three continuous hours a day (because it causes carpel tunnel syndrome, impacts posture, strains eyes, and – because of being increasingly sedentary – increases the propensity for heart disease). Continue reading

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Do Less: Eight Things to Give Up – Part 1

We are forever reading and hearing about the things we should do more.  Exercise more.  Eat more healthily.  Walk more.  Laugh more.  Read more.  At home and at work, there are evermore demands.  Do.  Do.  Do more.  Well, here’s a thought.  Perhaps instead of doing more, we should be doing less? Continue reading

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Travel Etiquette: Dos, Don’ts, and Super Don’ts

The solstice — which heralds the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere – officially begins on June 21st this year.  In addition to hot weather, summer also ushers in the end of the K-12 school year and summer break for colleges and universities.  It is the time of year when families and professionals alike take vacations.  And it is also the time of year when many professional associations hold business conferences.  All in all, it makes for a very busy travel period.  That is why, in addition to packing sunscreen and sunglasses, travelers should also make sure to pack their best manners and patience.  Travel can be daunting and it can also bring out the worst in people.  Without a huge supply of good graces and respect for others, one person’s bad manners can ruin someone else’s good time or worse. Continue reading

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Specialist or Generalist?

It seems that professionals and businesses alike are constantly pulled in two directions, like a rope in a game of tug-of-war.  On the one hand, intense competition and increased complexity beckons people and companies to specialize not only in a particular field, but to further specialize within that field to a subspecialty, and perhaps even a niche area within that subspecialty.  The specialist is the authority on a given topic, with a depth of knowledge that far exceeds most others.  The specialist may know very little about most things but knows practically everything there is to know about one particular thing. Continue reading

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Attention Deficit, Part 2

Helping Customers and Clients to Focus

Defined as “the concentration of attention or energy on something”, focus is clearly a behavior that businesses want from their staff and customers. Employers want employees to focus on their work.  Companies want clients to focus on the marketing message, sales pitch, product displays or services being offered.  But, with all the diversions and noise that compete for our attention and energy in today’s world, it is very easy to fall prey to distraction.  If everyone is being driven to distraction, just how much is this lack of focus affecting business, and what – if anything – can be done about it? Continue reading

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Attention Deficit, Part 1

Does Your Focus Need More Focus?

There is a famous line from the movie Karate Kid (the 2010 remake) when the Mr. Han, the Karate teacher, tells his pupil — who insists he is concentrating intently — that “Your focus needs more focus.”  Despite the student’s insistence that he was focused, his level of focus was lacking.  It is a problem that possibly everyone grapples with today.  With all the diversions and noise that compete for our attention and energy in today’s world, it can be very easy to fall prey to distraction. Continue reading

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The Power of A-B Testing – Part 2

Best Practices for A-B Testing

Last week we looked at the power and purpose of A-B testing.  We defined A-B testing as a simple random experiment with two variables or options, A and B, which are the control and treatment in the experiment.  As the name implies, two versions (A and B) are compared, which are identical except for one variation that might affect the behavior. Version A might be the currently used version (control), while Version B is modified in some respect (treatment). Continue reading

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